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Young Frankenstein on Broadway

When we were coming out of the subway station after seeing Young Frankenstein on Broadway, my son's friend pointed out a bit of graffiti--the new kind of graffiti, where they use a boxcutter to remove part of one poster and then stick it on top of another poster, not the old kind where they just use sharpies to add body parts and funny quotes. In this particular bit of subway art, someone had cut the last syllable off of an ad for Will Smith's summer blockbuster Hancock, and pasted it over another word, so that the new poster said "[second syllable of Hancock] is the new good." My son and his friend chuckled about this, and later I heard him explaining it to a friend. "It means 'poop'" he explained. I heard him from the other room and I called out 'What did you say it means?' And he smiled and said 'it's a kind of poop, kind of like saying doody." I felt a need to clarify. And I did. I feel bad for him, because he really wants to know all the bad words. One time, coming home from school in 2nd grade, he said "what grade are we in when we learn curses?" Poor thing, I thought he said 'cursive' so I answered plainly, "third grade." He must have been so excited. Later he said 'so in third grade we learn all the curse words?' and that's when I realized what he'd meant. "Oh no," I began, thinking as I was talking. "You're on your own with those." It did get me thinking that there could be some fun book or course where kids are given the curse words. Not in titillating ways but in plain English. A friend of mine from England was horrified once to hear teenage boys calling each other 'pussy' because of its derogatory nature. I really don't think those boys think of it as meaning anything other than 'wimp,' which is problematic in itself, but if they knew the origin, they might be more sensitive when yelling it across a playground, or in front of a group of nuns or something. My kids have heard a few choice swear words from me, but I like to think that I use them very very rarely and so when I do it proves how frustrated/angry/hurt I am. This is no stubbed toe *&^%, this is BROKEN toe *&^%$#. There's a difference, and we ought to clue them in by example. Which brings me back to Young Frankenstein. There is no Mel Brooks comedy I can think of that doesn't have its share of lewdness and inuendo, the occasional racy bit, or clever doublespeak. And this is no exception. I have to admit that during one of the first big musical numbers "Please Don't Touch Me" I cringed at some of the words: "You can stick me, you can lick can savage me and ravage me..." and I found myself scanning the audience to see if anyone else had brought children to the theater. Of course all of those things he would be allowed to do, he was only allowed to do in his dreams, because she didn't want to be touched, hence the name of the song. But I do like to think that kids who don't know what's going on won't be taught anything new from a song like that--especially when it's sung as quickly as Elizabeth sings it. Of course the song ends with an entire chorus of "Tits, tits, tits, tits, tits, etc." so that was the end of thinking that it might go over their heads. But again, it causes me to wonder about all the acts of violence they've seen by the age of ten--through video games, Star Wars, Tom and Jerry, whatever, and why keep basic body bits out of it? They've seen bodies being blown to bits but we have to protect the--oh no! someone said 'tits!'--from consenting adults using their bodies for pleasure (in a basic PG-13 kind of way, of course)? So once I talked myself down, I settled in and enjoyed. It was a really funny show, and both boys thoroughly enjoyed it, especially a hilarious dance number featuring the monster in coat and tails. The sets were gorgeous, and Igor was funny enough for two musicals. I don't go to Broadway shows as often as I should, but for some strange reason I've been to three shows now in a month (friends in from out of town, special deal from a credit card, some really great shows on the TKTS boards), and this was the nicest theater by far. I highly recommend it. It may not be for the very young, but again, there's nothing in it that's worse than what any city kid might see patched together or scrawled on a poster on a subway platform on the way to school every morning. My son is still talking about it.